Hmmm, Tannat wine, you say? From Uruguay? If you’re looking for your next big red wine, UYVINES can help you discover this fabulous grape. Nurtured by Uruguayan winemakers into a big, bold sip worthy of your attention. Originating in the Madiran region of France near the Pyrenees Mountains, the little known, hearty Tannat varietal grape was transported across the Atlantic by Basque immigrants in the late 19th century, only to become a national celebrity in Uruguay.
Bodega Garzón , a winery with more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks splashed across the Uruguayan hillsides just 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, is particularly well regarded for its Tannat wines. The varietal’s very name may, in fact, refer to the signature tannins that give it a complex, edgy, pucker. Awarded the title of Wine Explorer’s 2018 New World Winery of the Year, Bodega Garzón has taken great care to nurture Tannat vineyards into a full-bodied complement fit for a feast. LEED certified, and committed to sustainable farming, this destination winery is a blissful retreat, complete with haute cuisine dining, winery tours, and beautiful tasting rooms.
The research revealed that 2018 was a milestone year for Uruguayan grapes providing near-perfect growing conditions. Perhaps the best of the decade, dry, warm, and sunny weather causing a disastrous drought for much of the country’s agricultural industry, ripened the grape harvest with an even hand, maturing to produce balanced vintages on all types of vines. The conditions concentrated flavors and boosted the ABV percentage, making wines made from those grapes something quite special. That information pointed toward the perfect choice for the first taste of this unusual grape in the 2018 Garzón Tannat Wine Reserva. Additional details and purchasing options are available here .
Tannat Wine Made with Care
Upon harvest, Bodega Garzón moved the crush of 100% Tannat grapes into 150 hl concrete tanks. Winemaker Germán Bruzzone, Viticulturist Eduardo Félix, and Oenological Consultant Alberto Antonini dovetailed their expertise and talent, collectively preferring the improved control offered during fermentation by the concrete tanks over that of oak barrels.
After fermentation, the wine was transferred to 50 hl bottis, aging on the lees for 6 to 12 months to coax every last bit of tannin from the seeds and skins before bottling in July of 2019. A beautiful, dark wine boasting 14.5 percent ABV, with 3.0 g/L residual sugar, and acidity of 5.0 g/L emerged. That translates to a wine with an enormous profile and lots of flavor.
Such a powerful wine deserves an equally powerful entree. It is no wonder that the lavish game, beef, and lamb barbecues of the region play so well with this big red sip. Planning a succulent dinner of pan seared ribeye steak, garlic mashed potatoes, and a green salad with walnuts and blue cheese, the choice of the 2018 Garzón Tannat Wine Reserva would prove a fabulous match for a meal that was worth repeating.
Opening the wine with a short decanting time ahead of service, it awoke with a sparkle before splashing into the wide crystal bowls of stemmed glassware. Its color, rich and dark, flashed deep purple in the pour. The nose implied a lovely array of dark fruit shot with sparks of spice.
The first taste exhibited the expected dose of heavy tannins, but justified its edge by balancing acidity with flavor. The pairing was exceptional. The flavorful steak smoothed the tannins in the wine, giving up tender bites with each sip, confirming the two as superb partners.
Pan Seared Ribeye Steak
Four 8-oz ribeye filets, about 1 ½” to 2” thick
2 t fine sea salt
2 t canola or olive oil
6 T softened butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 t chopped fresh tarragon
1 t shopped fresh thyme
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Mix butter, garlic, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Season filets with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, until hot and water dances on the surface. Add filets and sear 2 minutes. Turn and sear another 2 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven for 6 minutes (rare) to 8 minutes (medium rare). Remove from the oven and plate with herb butter.